How Xero saved my marriage

XERO_SAVED_MY_MARRIAGENot only are my husband and I both self-employed, but we also both work from home, and share an office. It’s a miracle we haven’t already strangled each other with a USB cable!

Then, last week, I decided to help him get his accounts in order, which I’m guessing is right up there with ‘Teaching your partner to drive’ in the divorce inducing stakes.

Old school accounting

My husband is a fan of old school accounting. He has a ‘system’ that I’m pretty sure Hawkins would struggle to understand. Ask him a question about a certain customer, and after a few minutes of paper shuffling he emerges triumphant with the answer. It works for him but ONLY him, and as his business grows ever larger, his manual processes become more and more time consuming. It drives me crazy to see him faffing around until the wee hours typing up invoices in Word, or recording payments on little yellow index cards. Finally I broke. ‘You have to get Xero!’ I screamed.

Change is good (I promise)

Okay let me be honest. It took a while before my accountant was able to persuade me to ‘see the light’. I definitely struggled to move away from Excel spreadsheets and take the leap into the brave new world of online accounting software. I’d heard about MYOB and Sassu but every time I’ve checked them out they gave me a headache, so I returned to my ludditey old ways.

But then I discovered Xero and everything changed.

What I like about Xero

For me, finding Xero was a bit of a revelation. I like the fact that you can:

  • Sync several bank accounts/credit cards with the system so that they pull through transactions each day.
  • Quickly and easily reconcile spends to the appropriate code.
  • Raise smart looking branded invoices in a few clicks.
  • Quickly see late payers and hassle them in a professional way.
  • Copy old invoices and set up repeats.
  • Set up different email templates for invoicing, remittance advice, etc.

But Xero isn’t perfect

There is, of course, room for improvement, and I’d like to see the following:

  • The ability to brand the emails accompanying the invoices.
  • A search function to find invoices, clients, etc. right on the dashboard.
  • A customizable dashboard, with colours, branding, etc.
  • More user-friendly reporting – possibly question based, e.g.
  • How much have I earned this month?
  • Who is my best client?
  • Improved feeds (I’m with St.George and there are often issues of feed fails or duplicated items).

Love is… putting a month’s worth of accounts into Xero

It only took a few minutes to set up my husband’s Xero account (and I got the added benefit of a 15% reduction for running two companies through the system). But then the real work began. My husband and I sat side by side wading through his pile of invoices, adding them into the system, reconciling a month’s worth of payments and matching customer details to the relevant account. We got through it but boy it was tough.

Restoring the balance

Xero saved my marriage

Now it’s all done. The new Xero accounting system is in place. Branded invoices are shooting out to clients, payments are being tracked, business expenses assigned, and finally we have a clear picture of how the business is doing financially. You’ll all be glad to know that marital harmony has been restored. (See picture on right).

Just one question

I just have one question: how many wife points do you think I earned setting up Xero for my husband? Share your answers below.

Post script

Since writing this article I have slightly gone off Xero. They recently changed the way the manage their bank feeds and managed it terrible. It’s 20 days since my feed was supposed to be live it still isn’t. And the customer service hasn’t been that great either.

So yeah – the thumbs up has changed to a little bit more of a hmmmm.

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Kate Toon

  • http://twitter.com/gayle_buchanan Gayle Buchanan

    Personally I think you should get a gizzillion! AND … house cleaning, dinner, breakie done for at least …. ummmm a MONTH!

    • http://www.katetooncopywriter.com.au/ Kate Toon

      He did buy me a curly wurly the other day. Not sure if that is quite enough. Thanks for reading.

      • Catherine-Xero

        What’s a curly wurly?!

  • http://www.bridiestypingservices.com/ Bridie Jenner

    I’ve been using Xero for a couple of months now. I only use it for invoicing, since I haven’t found the currency conversion very user friendly (it wants to know what the AU$ to the GB£ is, whereas my conversions show it the other way around!). I’d like to also add to the wish list proper PayPal integration. I previously used Freshbooks and when a client paid via PayPal it marked the invoice as paid automatically. Not the case in Xero which I find a PITA.

    • http://www.katetooncopywriter.com.au/ Kate Toon

      Yep hadn’t thought of that, but Paypal integration would be a boon. Thanks for commenting Bridie

    • http://www.copywritematters.com.au/ Belinda Weaver

      PayPal is integrated but it can be a bit temperamental. Being paid in GBP or USD often results in multiple PayPal transactions that are a bit like the hokey pokey. The money gets paid, and then sent, and paid and…. This is where my bookkeeper really earns his keep.

      PS I love the new email templates. Having to type out the same thank you email over and over again was really giving me the shits. Branding though, that would be much better.

      • http://www.katetooncopywriter.com.au/ Kate Toon

        It has paypal integration? Where? I don’t think I’m ready for that step. Still struggling with the occasional double upload of records, which screws things up royally!

        • http://www.copywritematters.com.au/ Belinda Weaver

          You should be able to add it in as one of your bank accounts. At least, that’s what I did!

  • Anne-Therese

    Kate, I love that this beautiful piece of software has saved yet another marriage! Clients of mine used to yell at each other across the office when doing their accounts in Reckon but with the introduction of Xero, we have a much more peaceful working space… or maybe, its just that I am in my own office 20 km down the road??? As for your wife points… maybe trade them in on a years supply of Curly Wurlys! (I figure that should equate to at least 2 per day x 365 :) )

    • http://www.katetooncopywriter.com.au/ Kate Toon

      Yep agreed re Curly Wurlys. Of course my husband and I still shout at each other, but now it’s about OTHER stuff. Perhaps Xero should change their strap line? XERO – The marriage saving accounting software? Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Jeri Murphy

    So happy to hear :)

    • http://www.katetooncopywriter.com.au/ Kate Toon

      I could add that I MISS my old accountant more than I would a limb. COME BACK TO ME JERI!!!!

      • Jeri Murphy

        :)

  • http://www.katetooncopywriter.com.au/ Kate Toon

    Finally your post appeared, thanks so much for sharing. And for letting me know about those reports. I think just for total book keeping idiots like me the more ‘stupidproof’ you make Xero the better. I’ll certainly go and vote.! Really appreciate you taking the time to comment.

  • http://www.katetooncopywriter.com.au/ Kate Toon

    Finally your post appeared, thanks so much for sharing. And for letting
    me know about those reports. I think just for total book keeping idiots
    like me the more ‘stupidproof’ you make Xero the better. I’ll certainly
    go and vote.! Really appreciate you taking the time to comment.

  • http://www.copywritematters.com.au/ Belinda Weaver

    Hey Kate, a groovy little add-on you might look at is Receipt Bank.

    Once you set up an account you can forward AP invoices via email and it sets them up in XERO And you can use their phone app to snap receipts as you get them. It takes all the info like date and amount etc and creates it in XERO for you.

    It’s the SHIZ.

    • http://www.katetooncopywriter.com.au/ Kate Toon

      What is an AP invoice? When you say snap you mean take a photo? That is mad. Is it an iphone app?

      • http://www.facebook.com/deanhemmingsen Dean Hemmingsen

        Kate, it’s even better than that. You can scam, photograph our post them in. it also integrates with drop box if you have ever used that. All you have to do is drop your bills into a drop box folder that appears in your my documentor whatever the apple equivalent is and they upload into xero automatically!

        • http://www.katetooncopywriter.com.au/ Kate Toon

          No surely not, sounds like MAGIC!?!? So you photograph a picture. Put it dropbox (a special folder called xero?) then what? I still don’t get it. And will now probably waste the rest of the evening trying to figure it out!!

      • http://www.copywritematters.com.au/ Belinda Weaver

        Sorry about all that jargon Kate! AP = accounts payable so any invoice or expense you pay. And snap was take a picture :)

        I just learned about the Dropbox integration – thanks Dean!

        • http://www.katetooncopywriter.com.au/ Kate Toon

          Gosh how thick am I. Thanks B, am going off to investigate receipt bank right now

  • http://twitter.com/IzzBox IzzBox

    Great post. One of the things we find most attractive about Xero is the amount of 3rd party add-ons you can hook up to it to make everything run much smoother and quicker. You may be interested in a little interview we just published with an award winning Xero advisor. You can see it here.

Who is Kate Toon?

Hi, I'm an award-winning SEO copywriter and SEO consultant with over 18 years’ experience. I've worked with big brands such as Westpac, the RTA, Curash and Kmart and helped countless small businesses to produce great content.

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